Every year, Greenheart awards Global Impact Grants to participants and alumni who want to make a difference in their world. In August, one of our winners was Kimbian from the Philippines, a former YES high school student. Recently, Kimbian used his grant funding to train youth in coastal areas of Sarangani Bay to become certified in marine mammal rescue and education. Here’s what he said about it:
Project Lumba began as an idea when coastal industrialization activities grew around the coastal areas of Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape. This seascape stretches to 210,887.69 hectares and has been the known habitat for marine mammals like dolphins, whales, and dugongs. An established protective system namely the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (E-NIPAS) Act of 2018 was signed to legalize the protection of these areas further from activities like the foreshore beach development, the expanding presence of large vessels, sediment, and nutrient run-offs.
However, despite these efforts, the growing coastal industrialization has grown larger that caused incidents among marine wildlife. Hence, increasing stranding incidents have been recorded along the shores of Sarangani Bay which inspired the idea of Project Lumba. It aimed to address the stranding incidents in hopes to protect and conserve stranded marine mammals. Project Lumba provided an awareness campaign and capacity-building training on stranding response and medical management about marine mammals to 15 participants from various age groups.
Composed of the out-of-school-youth, college students, and marine patrols, Project Lumba bred new stranding responders to future stranding incidents in Sarangani Bay. Consecutively, they have been included in the local stranding response team through a Memorandum of Agreement between the Protected Area Management Board of SBPS (PAMO-SBPS) and the United States Government Alumni Association of SOCSKSARGEN (USGAA-SOX). The stranding team shall be available upon any incidents that may occur where their training in marine response will be needed. Through this, we aim to save every marine mammal that might wander along the coast of Sarangani Bay.
After our first implementation in one side of Sarangani, we are looking into expanding the project to the different coastal areas of the other side of the province in the future. Lastly, Project Lumba’s goals have changed. Now, it aims to protect and conserve all possible stranded marine mammals in all municipalities of the province and neighboring cities, and produce more bystanders that can soon respond to all the coastal areas of Sarangani Bay.